We Spoke of Was and When

This week we lost a legend who inspired many musicians. David Bowie died of cancer on January 10, 2016 at the age of 69. The genre of his music is called “Glam Rock”. So read this article and nod to yourself that you mourned David Bowie so you can forget about it tomorrow.  

His top 10 songs according to Ultimate Classic Rock are as follows:


  1. The Man Who Sold the World

The guitar at the beginning of the song is very quirky and makes you want to bob your head to it. The vocals are amazing, sounding slick. The vocals have been electronically altered which makes it sound more brittle. “We must have died alone, a long long time ago” is a line full of wistfulness, which is a common theme in this song. The ending choral vocals sound almost mournful, finishing the song with a sad tone.


We passed upon the stair, we spoke of was and when

Although I wasn’t there, he said I was his friend

Which came as some surprise I spoke into his eyes

I thought you died alone, a long long time ago

Oh no, not me

I never lost control

You’re face to face

With The Man Who Sold The World

I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home

I searched for form and land, for years and years I roamed

I gazed a gazely stare at all the millions here

We must have died alone, a long long time ago

Who knows? not me

We never lost control

You’re face to face

With the Man who Sold the World


  1.  Five Years

The rhythm at the beginning of the song is amazing. It isn’t too harsh and loud like a lot of music today. This song is about the end of the world. Instead of being instantaneous, the world has five years left. What would you do if you had five years to prepare for the end of everything? Would you go mad? The oxymoronic descriptions of people show how odd Bowie is, and it uniquely connects the two opposite groups of people. At the end random violin plucking is thrown in. The whole song is a melting pot of oddities.


News guy wept and told us

earth was really dying

Cried so much his face was wet

then I knew he was not lying

I heard telephones, opera house, favourite melodies

I saw boys, toys electric irons and T.V.’s

My brain hurt like a warehouse

it had no room to spare

I had to cram so many things

to store everything in there

And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people

And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people

I never thought I’d need so many people


  1. Modern Love

It opens with sliding guitar notes which sound cheerful, but this song opens with him speaking. This makes it sound like internal monologue which makes you lean closer to listen. When he starts singing it turns into a very catchy song.


There’s no sign of life

It’s just the power to charm

I’m lying in the rain

But I never wave bye-bye


  1. Rebel, Rebel

The sound is really catchy, especially the chorus. The lyrics don’t really have much to say though, and are used mostly for shock factor. This song shouldn’t be Bowie’s top 10 list just because this song doesn’t say anything with meaning.


  1. Ziggy Stardust

The beginning to this song is amazing. The drum and guitar intro really sets the mood for the song. The lyrics are confusing and the vocals are all over the place, making this song not fit for the top 5. However, the guitar and drums redeem its place in  top 10.


Ziggy played guitar, jamming good with Weird and Gilly,

And The Spiders from Mars.

He played it left hand, but made it too far,

Became the special man,

Then we were Ziggy’s Band.

Making love with his ego Ziggy sucked up into his mind

Like a leper messiah

When the kids had killed the man

I had to break up the band


Ziggy played guitar

  1.  Young Americans

“Young Americans” has a jazzy sound with the piano and trumpet in the opening. The lyrics of this song talk about the dark future of the ‘young Americans’. Bowie’s voice at the line “break down and cry” rises in pitch giving it a more emotional sound. The line “We live for just these twenty years// Do we have to die for the fifty more?” brings to mind the quote by Benjamin Franklin. “Some people die at twenty-five and aren’t buried until seventy-five.”

She finds the slinky vagabond

He coughs as he passes her Ford

Mustang, but

Heaven forbid, she’ll take anything

But the freak, and his type, all for


He misses a step and cuts his hand, but

Showing nothing, he swoops like a song

She cries “Where have all Papa’s heroes gone?”

All the way from Washington

Her bread-winner begs off the bathroom floor

We live for just these twenty years

Do we have to die for the fifty more?”

Well, well, well, would you carry a razor

In case, just in case of depression?

And, ain’t there a child I can hold without judging?

Ain’t there a pen that will write before they die?

Ain’t you proud that you’ve still got faces?

Ain’t there one damn song that can make me

break down and cry?


  1. Heroes

This one belongs at the number one spot on this list, but not according to “Ultimate Classic Rock”. It fittingly belongs on a memorial list for David Bowie, as he was a hero to many and inspired musicians who continue to inspire the masses.


Oh we can beat them, forever and ever

Then we could be heroes, just for one day

We can be heroes

We can be heroes

We can be heroes

Just for one day

We can be heroes

We’re nothing, and nothing will help us

Maybe we’re lying,

then you better not stay

But we could be safer,

just for one day

  1. Moonage Daydream

This song has a good beat and Bowie did an exceptional job on the vocals. They are full of emotion and they have a wide range, keeping the vocals from getting boring. This song sounds like it should come from a movie soundtrack.


Keep your ‘lectric eye on me babe

Put your ray gun to my head

Press your space face close to mine, love

Freak out in a moonage daydream oh yeah!

  1. Changes

The opening of this song is energetic and sneaky. The lyrics are about facing the changes in your life. The lines “And these children that you spit on//As they try to change their worlds//Are immune to your consultations//They’re quite aware of what they’re going through” Encourage the youth because Bowie is arguing with the adults who try to stop the youth from changing the world.


I still don’t know what I was waiting for

And my time was running wild

A million dead-end streets

And every time I thought I’d got it made

It seemed the taste was not so sweet

So I turned myself to face me

But I’ve never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I’m much too fast to take that test

And these children that you spit on

As they try to change their worlds

Are immune to your consultations

They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

  1. Space Oddity

The guitar at the beginning is sleepy and slow. The echoing voice of Bowie gives the song a distanced and isolating feel. This song is a fitting memorial of his death, because Major Tom left and can’t come back, and now so has Bowie. David Bowie has left us and is now far above this world, and there is nothing he can do. Farewell, and rest in peace David Bowie.

This is Ground Control

to Major Tom

You’ve really made the grade

And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear

Now it’s time to leave the capsule

if you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control

I’m stepping through the door

And I’m floating

in a most peculiar way

And the stars look very different today

For here

Am I sitting in a tin can

Far above the world

Planet Earth is blue

And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past

one hundred thousand miles

I’m feeling very still

And I think my spaceship knows which way to go

Tell my wife I love her very much

she knows

Ground Control to Major Tom

Your circuit’s dead,

there’s something wrong

Can you hear me, Major Tom?

Can you hear me, Major Tom?

Can you hear me, Major Tom?

Can you….

Here am I floating

round my tin can

Far above the Moon

Planet Earth is blue

And there’s nothing I can do.



Tell me about a musician you loved before their rise to fame, or one you think deserves one.

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  • Reply
    Jeramiah Rushton
    February 13, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    If you want be exact, David bowie isn’t Just glam rock. HE falls into countless other subjects like alternative, rock, jazz, etc. Glam rock just happens to be how he started out.

    • Reply
      February 26, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      Thank you for the specification. David bowie is best known for his work in the Glam Rock genre, and had a hand in popularizing it, so I felt that was what was best EMPHASIZED in his memorial article.

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